A mostly American subgenre -- special television shows, often one-shots, created with a winter or holiday theme for broadcast during the month of December. Most prominently feature SantaClaus and his associated mythology, as they try to preserve political correctness. Some try to educate the viewers about the TrueMeaningOfChristmas. Their plots often involve the characters SavingChristmas.

Perhaps the best-known Christmas Specials are the animated ones (including the stop-motion animations produced primarily by [[RankinBassProductions Rankin/Bass]]) from the 1960s through the 1970s that rerun annually. Far more numerous, though, are the various celebrity specials, which usually take the form of a low-key holiday-themed VarietyShow. Usually the latter are rather forgettable by virtue of their one-off nature, but sometimes they can generate moments that survive decades. A case in point would be the Bing Crosby-DavidBowie duet of "The Little Drummer Boy", which has taken on a life of its own above and beyond the 1970s-vintage Crosby special from which it sprang.

Compare ChristmasEpisode ([[SeparatedByACommonLanguage generally known as Christmas Specials]] [[AVeryBritishChristmas in the UK]]) and HalloweenSpecial. If the holiday celebrated in the special only looks like Christmas but is renamed to match the setting, it's a YouMeanXmas.

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!!Examples:
[[index]]
* Disney put out ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_All_of_Us_to_All_of_You From All of Us to All of You]]'' on its weekly show ''Series/WaltDisneyPresents'' in 1958. It featured new cartoon footage of [[Disney/{{Pinocchio}} Jiminy Cricket]] linking winter and celebration-themed excerpts from the DisneyAnimatedCanon and ClassicDisneyShorts. This special has received periodic updates and retitlings over the decades. While its last exposure in the U.S. was in TheEighties (as 1983's ''A DisneyChannel Christmas'', retitled ''Jiminy Cricket's Christmas'' for a video release in '86), it continues to be a very big draw in the UK and Scandinavia.
** [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff Sweden in particular loves this special.]] ''Kalle Anka och hans všnner Ųnskar God Jul''[[note]]Donald Duck and His Friends Wish You a Merry Christmas[[/note]] appears on Swedish television every December 24 without fail, and it's not an exaggeration to say fully half of the nation watches it. [[http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2009/12/nordic_quack.html This Slate article]] details the tradition, from the perspective of an American observing his Swede in-laws watching it during a visit.
* ''WesternAnimation/MrMagoo's [[YetAnotherChristmasCarol Christmas Carol]]'' (1962) was the [[UrExample first animated one of these]] to be produced expressly for television.
* ''Theatre/DinnerForOne'' (1963, usually associated with New Year's Eve)
* ''WesternAnimation/RudolphTheRedNosedReindeer'' (1964)
** ''Rudolph's Shiny New Year'' (1976)
** ''Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July'' (1979)
** ''WesternAnimation/RudolphTheRedNosedReindeer: TheMovie'' (1998) is mostly unrelated.
* ''WesternAnimation/ACharlieBrownChristmas'' (1965; directly references the religious basis of Christmas when Linus, in a spotlight no less, quotes the Christmas story from one of the gospels)
** There are three more ''{{Peanuts}}'' Christmas specials, made from TheNineties onward, that the original easily overshadows: ''It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown'' (1992), ''Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales'' (2002), and ''I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown'' (2003). ''Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales'' was created specifically to pad out an hour timeslot for ''A Charlie Brown Christmas'' so that it wouldn't have to be EditedForSyndication.
* ''The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood'' (1965; this one only had a few token references to Christmas)
* ''WesternAnimation/HowTheGrinchStoleChristmas'' (1966)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLittleDrummerBoy'' (1968; one of the rare specials which focused on the Nativity, it received a sequel in 1976)
* ''WesternAnimation/FrostyTheSnowman'' (1969)
** ''Frosty's Winter Wonderland'' (1976)
** ''Frosty Returns'' (1992 non-Rankin/Bass sequel)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheNightTheAnimalsTalked'' (1970; another rare Nativity-themed show)
* ''WesternAnimation/SantaClausIsCominToTown'' (1970)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheYearWithoutASantaClaus'' (1974, animated; 2006, live action)
* ''WesternAnimation/TwasTheNightBeforeChristmas'' (1974)
* ''The First Christmas Snow'' (1975)
* ''WesternAnimation/ACosmicChristmas'' (1977) (Canadian-produced and featuring aliens searching for the meaning of Christmas)
* ''WesternAnimation/NestorTheLongEaredChristmasDonkey'' (1977)
* ''Literature/EmmetOttersJugBandChristmas'' (1977)
* The oh-so-infamous/amazing ''Film/TheStarWarsHolidaySpecial'' (1978)
* Several ''SesameStreet'' examples:
** ''Series/ChristmasEveOnSesameStreet'' (1978)
** ''A Special Sesame Street Christmas'' (1978)
** ''Elmo Saves Christmas'' (1996)
** ''[[YetAnotherChristmasCarol A Sesame Street Christmas Carol]]'' (2006)
** ''Elmo's Christmas Countdown'' (2007)
* ''John Denver and TheMuppets: A Christmas Together'' (1979)[[note]]Probably better known for the soundtrack album than for the special itself at this point, but still ...[[/note]]
* ''Film/MrKruegersChristmas'' (1980) Featuring Creator/JimmyStewart and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
* ''Pinocchio's Christmas'' (1980)
* ''ComicBook/TheSnowman'' (1982) (one of the first British examples, and the most famous)
* In France, ''Le PŤre NoŽl est une ordure'' (1982) is broadcast virtually every single year on one of the six main channels around Christmas. It's actually a very dark comedy; one of the characters works as a MallSanta.
* Two ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs Smurfs]]'' Christmas specials, "The Smurfs Christmas Special" and "'Tis The Season To Be Smurfy".
** ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfsAChristmasCarol '' is this for ''Film/TheSmurfs'' film series.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983 He-Man]] and [[WesternAnimation/SheRaPrincessOfPower She-Ra]]: A Christmas Special''. Features some hilarious scenes in which Skeletor becomes infused with the Christmas spirit, much to his befuddlement. (1985)
* ''The Life And Adventures of Santa Claus '' (1985)
* ''Film/TheChristmasToy'' (Jim Henson) (1986)
* ''Film/AMuppetFamilyChristmas'' (1987)
* ''[[WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends A Garfield Christmas]]''(1987)
* ''Series/{{Blackadder}}'s Christmas Carol'' (1988)
* ''The PeeWeesPlayhouse Christmas Special'' (1988)
* ''WesternAnimation/ChristmasInTattertown'' (1988)
* ''BluetoesTheChristmasElf'' (1988)
* The ''[[Series/BarneyAndFriends Barney]]'' franchise has four Christmas specials: ''Waiting for Santa'' (1990), ''Barney's Night Before Christmas'' (1999), ''Barney's Christmas Star'' (2002), and ''[[ClipShow A Very Merry Christmas]]'' (2011).
* ''WesternAnimation/InspectorGadget [[SavingChristmas Saves Christmas]]'' (1991)
* ''Father Christmas'' (1991)
* ''Literature/AWishForWingsThatWork'' (1991)
* ''Timmy's Gift: A Precious Moments Christmas'' (1991)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheChristmasTree'' (1991)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheMooFamilyHolidayHoedown'' (1992)
* ''[[WesternAnimation/NickAndNoel Nick & Noel]]'' (1993)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTownSantaForgot'' (1993)
* ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0324344/ The Twelve Days of Christmas]]'' (1993): Promoted as "the true story of the Twelve Days of Christmas". Featured the voices of [[WesternAnimation/ThunderCats Larry Kenney]] and PhilHartman.
* ''The ReducedShakespeareCompany Christmas'' (radio, 1995)
* ''{{WesternAnimation/Jingle Bell Rock}}'', DiC (1995)
* ''[[WesternAnimation/SpotTheDog Spot's Magical Christmas]]'' (1995)
* ''[[WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog Sonic Christmas Blast]]'' (1996)
* ''The Story of Santa Claus'' (1998)
* ''Series/BearInTheBigBlueHouse'': ''A Berry Bear Christmas'' (1999)
* ''WesternAnimation/OliveTheOtherReindeer'' (1999)
* ''WesternAnimation/RobbieTheReindeer in Hooves of Fire'' (1999)
* ''WesternAnimation/GrandmaGotRunOverByAReindeer'' (2000)
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' started out as one of those, ''Christmas In South Park''. (2000)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'s Perfect Christmas'' (2000)
* ''WesternAnimation/ChristmasWho?'' from ''SpongebobSquarepants''. (2000)
** ''WesternAnimation/ItsASpongebobChristmas'' (2012)
* Literature/{{Franklin}}: ''Franklin's Magic Christmas'' (2001).
* ''The True Meaning of Christmas Specials'' (2002) with Dave Foley of {{Kids in the Hall}} (and {{News Radio}}) fame.
* ''Film/ItsAVeryMerryMuppetChristmasMovie'' (2002)
* ''[[WesternAnimation/{{Caillou}} Caillou's]] Holiday Movie'' (2003)
* ''ThePowerpuffGirls: 'Twas The Fight Before Christmas'' (2003)
* The newest incarnation of ''Series/DoctorWho'' has a Christmas special every year, starting with the second season. The Ninth Doctor story "The Unquiet Dead" is a Christmas special within the regular series.
* ''WesternAnimation/DaveyAndGoliath's Snowbound Christmas'' (2005)
* ''MoralOrel'''s first season finale [[OutOfOrder (aired as the first episode)]] was one with a DownerEnding. Its series finale, which had some [[BookEnds parallels]] was a lot more positive.
* The TV adaptation of [[Creator/TerryPratchett Terry Pratchett's]] ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'' (2006)
* [[DoctorSteel Doctor Steel's]] ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVfSJPKA0VM Dr. Steel Christmas Special]]'' (2007) and ''[[http://www.toysoldiersunite.com/media/mp3/adrsteelchristmasmp3.mp3 A Dr. Steel Christmas]]'' (2009).
* [[/index]]WesternAnimation/LeapFrog's[[index]] ''A Tad Of Christmas Cheer'' (2007)
* ''WesternAnimation/ChristmasIsHereAgain'' (2007)
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}} The Halls'' (2007)
* ''[[Series/TheColbertReport A Colbert Christmas]]: The Greatest Gift Of All''. Contains both [[AsTheGoodBookSays actual religious issues]], and [[BearsAreBadNews killer bears]]. (2008)
* ''Film/AMuppetsChristmasLettersToSanta'' (2008)
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFlightBeforeChristmas'' (2008)
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerbChristmasVacation!'' (2009)
* ''WesternAnimation/PrepAndLanding'' (2009)
* There are ''two'' specials based on the "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus" letter. The first one dates to around 1975, and was directed by Bill Melendez of ''Peanuts'' fame (the special has a Charlie Brown-esque look to it). The second, more recent one, was made in 2009, and featured Alfred Molina as the editor of ''The New York Sun.''
* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' often does holiday specials; in 2009, they made a 3-part special for Christmas.
* StrawberryShortcake has two: ''Berry Merry Christmas'' (2003 continuity) and ''The Glimmerberry Ball Movie'' (2009 continuity).
* ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda Holiday Special'' (2010). Given the setting is ancient China, the producers use the Winter Festival instead for the occasion, which also makes the special applicable from American Thanksgiving to New Years in the future.
* ''Hoops & Yoyo Ruin Christmas'' (2011)
* ''An Elf's Story'' (2011), adapted from the "Elf on the Shelf" book and doll (2011)
* ''Series/BitchinKitchen'' (2011)
* ''Literature/CharlieAndLola'' had an episode with the siblings visiting the elves and saving Christmas.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' Christmas episode "A Very Venture Christmas" introduced the Krampus to much of America.
* ''The Adventures of Theatre/TheLeagueOfSTEAM'' had "The Fright Before Christmas".
* ''WesternAnimation/IceAge'' gave us "A Mammoth Christmas"...with no explanation on how talking animals can celebrate a holiday honoring someone who wouldn't be born until long after the animals are dead.
** [[FridgeBrilliance Winter solstice]]...?
** Explain ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones''' multiple Christmas episodes and specials and you get the reason.
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooHauntedHolidays'' (2012)
* ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'' has "A Magix Christmas", where Bloom teaches the other characters, who aren't from Earth, about Christmas.
* ''WesternAnimation/AbominableChristmas'' (2012)
* ''WesternAnimation/HollyHobbieAndFriends: Christmas Wishes'': A rather more unusually traditional one for today's time, in a series that otherwise isn't overtly Christian. While it doesn't overtly pedal Christian religious themes, it does include a fully traditional Christian pageant, with an original manager song called "There's No Room at the Inn," and both Christian and non-Christian Christmas songs, such as "Jingle Bells" and "Oh Holy Night."
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' has quite a few!
** ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' had "Alpha's Magical Christmas", a non-canon direct-to-video special, and "I'm Dreaming of a White Ranger", which is canon.
** ''Series/PowerRangersZeo'' had "A Season To Remember"; it aired as the season finale, but takes place and was produced in the middle of the season.
** ''Series/PowerRangersSamurai'', which was split into two seasons, had two clip show Christmas specials -- one for each season.
[[/index]]
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